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Rutgers–Camden School of Business Launches Two Community-Based Small Business Training and Certification Programs

Professional and Executive Education at Rutgers (PEER) and the Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC), two units of Rutgers School of School–Camden (RSBC), have partnered to successfully roll out two grant-funded, community-based small business and entrepreneurship certificate programs in Camden and Salem counties in New Jersey. The program in Camden is being funded by Camden Cares of the Enterprise Center of New Jersey, and the program in Salem County was funded by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture. These cohort-based programs combine NJSBDC’s expertise in supporting business startups with the offerings of PEER, which is known for its emphasis on developing long-term leadership and business sustainability skills. Both three-month hybrid programs culminate with a project that consists of an initial business plan and an “elevator pitch” that these small business owners and entrepreneurs can employ to secure financing, establish strategic partnerships, and hire a workforce that will support their success.

The programs represent a focused effort by leadership to deliver on its commitment to societal impact. RSBC Dean Monica Adya notes, “as a business school anchored in South Jersey, RSBC takes seriously our responsibility to uplift our business and community partners. This includes delivering value through everything we do. This partnership between two important RSBC-supported units, SBDC and PEER, is exciting as it helps deliver on our vision to support economic transformation in the region, one engagement at a time.” Peter McAliney, Director of PEER, adds “the combination of these two units offers small business owners and entrepreneurs’ support at all stages of their company’s life – startup, growth, and sustainability. The participants in these two pilot programs will have access to a variety of resources from our business school as well as the SBDC housed on campus.”

A key aspect of the program includes access to SBDC consultants who advocate for small business owners and provide support in essential areas, such as business basics, business plan writing, sales and marketing, and securing financing as well as any specific industry-related topics that are relevant to the business. “The programs have been both rewarding and productive as the small business owners in Salem and Camden have been engaged and eager to learn, apply, and raise their businesses to the next level,” states Robert Palumbo, Director of the SBDC.

Colleen Vann, Director of the Camden Cares Business Center, sees what many others responsible for economic development see a gap where entrepreneurs have leapt into running their businesses without having received mentorship and learning related to operations and business development. The Rutgers–Camden program allows businesses in their service area to grow sustainably and provide valuable products, services, and job opportunities to communities. “When Peter McAliney and Bob Palumbo approached me with the idea of a leadership training program for growing small businesses, it took our initial concept to a whole new level,” states Vann, “there is something special about a longer-term program like this, where I get to develop a closer relationship with the business owners who participate and truly learn about them and their stories.” Vann summarized, “entrepreneurs from the program have already told me how much my enthusiasm and encouragement has made them feel welcome and eager to participate in the Leadership for Growing Small Businesses program!”

Professional and Executive Education at Rutgers (PEER)
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Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) at Rutgers-Camden
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